Beyond Maverick & Spider-Man, Box Office 2022 Was a ‘Woke’ Failure


It’s no secret that the movie business has been struggling. The 2022 summer box office saw a 21% lower take than pre-pandemic summer numbers from 2019. And the press doesn’t seem to understand what’s going on.


As the Wall Street Journal reports it was the lowest box office haul in over twenty years:


 It was the lowest haul since 2001, when summer movies earned $3.34 billion at domestic theaters. The summer season typically accounts for about 40% of annual box office receipts, Comscore says.

The reason, Comscore said, is there simply weren’t enough movies. The film industry is still suffering from a hangover caused by the pandemic, which delayed hundreds of productions and forced distributors to reshuffle their release schedules, say movie studios, theater owners and analysts. Studios only gave wide release—defined by Comscore as those that show on at least 2,000 screens—to 22 movies this summer, compared with 42 in the summer of 2019.


It seems the blame is on the pandemic still because they didn’t have as much content produced and ready to distribute, but according to Box Office Mojo, almost 80 movies were released in June 2022. How is that a lack of content? 



Spider-Man: No Way Home and Top Gun: Maverick seem to be the outliers, and clearly show that masking and social distancing isn’t stopping anyone from going to the movies. Each of those films grossed over $1.5 billion domestically. While there are surely movie fans that got used to watching titles at home, or are still wearing masks and fearful of getting sick, the fact is that if the content is designed to entertain, is non-political, and is well-made, it can find an audience.


The problem is all the woke content that’s being produced isn’t putting butts in seats anymore. As John Nolte breaks down three widely released movies in particular that should have been blockbusters, but failed because of their unnecessary identity politics a.k.a. wokeness:


Toy Story movies can be counted on to gross around $400 million domestically. Lightyear came up about $300 million short. Gee, Disney… Maybe don’t try to groom children by putting homosexuality in a $250 million kids’ movie.

Thor: Love and Thunder underperformed. This should not have happened. Thor is not only one of the original Avengers. Marvel even added an extended Guardians of the Galaxy cameo. The result? A pretty sad (for a Marvel movie) $340 million domestic. Gee, Disney… Maybe don’t emasculate one of your most beloved masculine heroes and interrupt the big love scene everyone’s waiting for with two people talking about their gay sex lives.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore was a five-alarm box office catastrophe with just $95 million. But that’s what you get when you open a movie with homosexuality aimed at kids. And in this case, what you probably got was a franchise killer. What was supposed to be a five-chapter franchise will probably become a trilogy (no one likes).


So what’s the lesson that Hollywood should be learning so they don’t make the same mistakes in 2023? Nolte has the prescription.

1) Instead of making movies no one wants to see, make movies people want to see;
2) Stop with the spell-killing, insulting woketardery that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and kills the one thing that makes a blockbuster a blockbuster: repeat business.

Maybe more Top Guns and fewer Lightyears? 


Now, will Hollywood heed this lesson, or double-down?

Todd Fisher

Todd lives in Northern California with "the wife," "the kids," "the dogs," "that cat," and he occasionally wears pants. His upcoming release, "Are You Woke Enough Yet?", is the culmination of too much time on social media and working in the film industry.